Sugar Palm Trees of Cambodia
When you travel in southern Cambodia in January or February you see long, skinny bamboo poles tied up on the tall trunks of a special palm tree that the people allow to grow disbursed in the rice fields. This is the sugar palm tree. And, it’s pretty amazing to see the way men climb those skinny, bamboo “ladders” in the morning and late afternoons, cut the flower stalk of the sugar palm and collect the sugary dripping in bamboo or plastic containers, and then boil down the sap to get some sugar. By climbing 30 trees, twice a day, and then doing lots of boiling, they tell me a man can get maybe 15 kg of sugar palm sugar that sells for about $.75 per kg, depending on the cleanliness of the sugar.